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Submission + - MPAA Wants Theaters To Call Cops On People Who Dare Take A Photo During A Movie (

El_Oscuro writes: According to Consumerist, The Motion Picture Association of America has released new best practices guidelines for movie theater operators who want to crack down on that worst of crimes — the shaky-cam pirated movie. To that end, the MPAA is suggesting a zero-tolerance policy, not just for people caught trying to record a motion picture, but for anyone who dares to take out their cellphone to take a photo during a screening.

That’s right. Theater owners should just assume that anyone who pulls out a phone during a movie is a thief looking to deprive Ben Affleck’s children of their next meal. And rather than simply remove that suspected copyright terrorist from the theater — like Alamo Drafthouse does with people who text during movies — the MPAA says theater owners need to alert the authorities.

Submission + - Software patents abolished in New Zealand

El_Oscuro writes: According to the Washington Post, New Zealand just abolished software patents.

What’s wrong with the patent system? Most people cite problems with patent trolls or low patent quality. But a recent study by the Government Accountability Office makes it clear that the real problem is more specific: Patents on software don’t work.

Of course, the GAO doesn’t quite come out and say that. The study, released last week, has the bland title “Assessing Factors That Affect Patent Infringement Litigation Could Help Improve Patent Quality.” But the study is chock-full of evidence that most of the patent system’s problems are really problems with software patents.
According to the GAO, software patents now account for more than half of all patents submitted.

Submission + - Can someone patent a skateboard? (

El_Oscuro writes: "In a move that would put to shame, Hamboards is suing some dude who has made a skateboard that is kind of like theirs. The real bizzaro thing is, he hasn't actually sold any decks so I am not sure exactly what would be violated. There is so much prior art here that it makes the Apple/Samsung round corners business look original. And if you think software patents are shitty, wait until you read some of the skateboard ones such as Patent USD556283 and Patent USD564613."

Submission + - The World's Lightest Electric Vehicle

El_Oscuro writes: Not only is it a vehicle – it’s a skateboard, more specifically a longboard. silverfishlongboarding tested some prototypes and has a good write up on it.

If you rode a Tony Hawk when you were a kid and are tired of rising gas prices, parking, traffic, etc, this might be for you. With a speed governed 20mph top speed, 6 mile range and regenerative braking, this bad boy could be your next commuter ride.

The Tech
Boosteb Boards founders, all three of whom were engineering students and longboarders at Stanford University, are definitely well-versed in the technologies they've applied to their board project. For reporters like us, drooling over paper with the large, fat pencils the doctors say are safe for us to use, it boils down to sime relatively simple stuff: a custom mounting plate and driveline they bolt onto Landyachtz'es Bear Trucks, independently belt-driven by tandem 1kw, brushless DC "outrider" motors, all powered by a lithium-ion battery pack managed by a heat-sinked mos-fet controller that's directed by a blue tooth handset. Simpler yet: tons of horsepower, 6+ miles of range and only about six pounds heavier than the longboard they start with before adding on the electronics.

Submission + - Dennis Ritchie, Co-Creator of Unix and Founder of (

El_Oscuro writes: In less than a week, the world has lost two tech pioneers. Last week, we mourned the passing of Steve Jobs, and now we say goodbye to computer scientist Dennis Ritchie who also recently died.

Ritchie, or dmr as he was called in programming circles, worked most of his life at Bell Laboratories where he helped create the C programming language and worked extensively on the Unix operating system.


Submission + - slashdotted? ( 1

El_Oscuro writes: While looking up some documentation for GIT this morning I noticed the page for it was down. Curious, I checked the Homepage and found it was down too. It has now been over 8 hours and counting. Anyone know what is going on?
GNU is Not Unix

Submission + - Computer chess champ stripped of 4 titles (

El_Oscuro writes: According to the Washington Times, Yet another world champion has been brought low for suspected use of a banned performance-enhancing substance. Rybka, the chess-playing computer program that won the past four World Computer Chess Championship titles, was summarily stripped of its silicon crown this week amid charges its programmer plagiarized the software of two rival programs.

David Levy, president of the International Computer Games Association (ICGA), announced the action against Rybka on Wednesday and imposed a lifetime ban on Czech-American programmer and Massachusetts Institute of Technology graduate Vasik Rajlich. He accused Mr. Rajlich of ripping off the coding of two other software programs marketed as Crafty and Fruit. Mr. Levy also demanded the return of trophies and prize money the program won.

Because Fruit and Crafty “open-source” program, its codes are available for anyone to use — but its license strictly prohibits anyone from making money off its code and not giving credit. John Dozier Jr., a lawyer who specializes in Internet copyright issues, said no successful preventive measure from this is in sight.

Submission + - Sarah Palins emails released by Alaska ( 1

El_Oscuro writes: According to to the LA Times, the state of Alaska is expected to release more than 24,000 pages worth of emails from Sarah Palin's tenure as governor, more than two years after they were requested by news organizations and local activists. The Palin emails were originally sought to shed light on the then-little-known running mate of 2008 Republican presidential nominee John McCain. Their release comes at a very different time — as Palin, who enjoys near-universal name recognition, is contemplating a White House bid of her own.

Apparently, the Alaskan government cannot create something like a zip file or tarball so they will print out each individual email and then release the printed copies to new organizations. Why do I feel this belongs on

Submission + - New California legislator deployed to Afghanistan (

El_Oscuro writes: The LA Times reports that newly elected Assemblyman Jeff Gorell is on a mission, it just wasn't the one he expected. In March, the freshman Republican from Camarillo, a Navy reservist, will trade his business suit for combat fatigues and report for a year's duty in Afghanistan. Never mind that he hasn't yet hired a staff, opened an office or introduced legislation.

Submission + - Microsoft shares hit by downgrade (

El_Oscuro writes: According to BBC, shares in Microsoft fell nearly 2% during US trading, after Goldman Sachs cut its rating of the computer giant. The investment bank cut its rating of Microsoft shares from "buy" to "neutral". It said Microsoft was being threatened by the rise of tablet computers such as Apple's iPad, which do not run Windows software.

Submission + - Turning Plastic Trash Into Fuel (

El_Oscuro writes: According to the Washington post, a D.C. Start-Up Aims to Pitch Oil Made From Plastic Waste. Plastic soda bottles, Big Gulp cups and empty sour cream containers get fed into the top of the three-story machine. About 10 minutes later, out the other side comes a light-brown synthetic oil that can be converted into fuel for a truck or a jet airplane.

The Envion Oil Generator, scheduled for an official unveiling at Montgomery County's Solid Waste Transfer Station on Wednesday, represents a local company's decade-long effort to fight rising fuel costs and help protect the environment. As part of a pilot program, the company recently assembled the first of its fuel-producing generators at the Derwood waste facility.

Envion said its new generator can consume any type of plastic and convert it into synthetic oil; depending on the type of plastic, one ton can be converted into three to six barrels of fuel. Envion said it costs about $10 to convert the plastic waste into a barrel's worth of synthetic oil; currently, crude oil sells for close to $70 a barrel.

How much oil could we recover from the Pacific Garbage Patch?

Honesty is for the most part less profitable than dishonesty. -- Plato